By Gareth Iacobucci
Exclusive: The looming landslide of PCT management cuts has yet to materialise, with almost three quarters of trusts yet to make any redundancies since the launch of the white paper, a Pulse investigation reveals.
Figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show that many trusts have still not put into place the drastic series of cutbacks required in order to meet the Government’s target of slashing their management costs by 45%.
GP leaders have warned that the Government’s white paper reforms could be derailed by a mass exodus of PCT staff, with GPC deputy chair Dr Richard Vautrey telling MPs at the Health Committee’s commissioning inquiry last week that the BMA had evidence of whole departments of people taking redundancy.
But Pulse’s investigation reveals that 70% of PCTs are yet to make any redundancies since the white paper was unveiled in July, with just 26 redundancies made across 40 trusts.
Only a quarter of the trusts to respond to Pulse’s Freedom of Information request reported making one or more redundancies, with 5% refusing to disclose details.
The largest number of management cuts were in NHS Milton Keynes and NHS Buckinghamshire, which reported five and four redundancies respectively.
But the investigation also revealed a total of 755 unfilled posts across the 40 PCTs, representing around 4% of the total workforce.
NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney reported the largest percentage of unfilled positions, with 36 posts unfilled, representing around 15% of its workforce.
Five trusts said they had implemented recruitment freezes and were not replacing staff that left.
Dr Richard Vautrey, GPC deputy chair and a GP in Leeds, said that although the number of PCT staff to have left so far was low, many redundancies are still being negotiated.
‘What we do know is a number of PCTs have offered a redundancy programme to their staff and are in the process now of agreeing them,’ he said.
‘We all recognise that there will be a reduction in the number of managers. What we are very worried about is the key people who we need to be retained taking either early redundancy or looking for jobs elsewhere, and then having to hire those people back. We do need a planned reduction rather than chaotic one.’
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Find out what steps your practice should be taking to prepare for GP commissioning at the Essential Commissioning Skills seminar on 15 Feb and 3 March – more information here.